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Charles Chong regains Punggol East for PAP in close contest

VETERAN FIGHTER: Mr Chong has fought seven general elections.

IN the tightest race seen in a single-seat ward, the People's Action Party's (PAP) Charles Chong has managed to wrest control of Punggol East Single Member Constituency (SMC) from incumbent Lee Li Lian of the Workers' Party by 1,156 votes.

He won 51.76 per cent of the vote (16,957 votes), more than the 48.24 per cent (15,801 votes) received by Ms Lee.

Of the 34,466 residents registered in the ward, 379 votes were spoilt and 1,329 were a no-show.

The population in the SMC is split almost equally between old and young voters.

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In his victory speech, Mr Chong expressed his gratitude to his supporters and volunteers, and took the opportunity to thank Ms Lee "for taking care of the constituency for the last two and a half years", adding that he knew "she did her best".

"There is still a lot of hard work ahead of us, we need to get our Town Council in order, we need to deliver on our electoral promises and we definitely need to bring the shine back to Punggol East," said the seasoned politician as the crowd cheered on.

Mr Chong has fought seven general elections since he entered politics in 1988. He started out in Sembawang GRC (Group Representation Constituency) before moving to Eunos GRC, Pasir Ris GRC and Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, where he served two terms.

In the last general election, he was fielded against the WP's Yee Jenn Jong in single-seat Joo Chiat, where he won by just 388 votes.

This election, he was fielded in Punggol East after Joo Chiat was absorbed by Marine Parade GRC following the electoral boundaries review in late July.

In 2013, Ms Lee won the seat in a four-cornered fight in the by-election, which included the PAP's first-time candidate Koh Poh Koon. The by-election took place after former Parliament speaker Michael Palmer was forced to step down.

Ms Lee had then garnered a narrow win of 54.5 per cent of the vote share then, outdoing Dr Koh, her closest contender, by about 10 percentage points.